Valley Native Jalen Green selected #2 by Houston Rockets in 2021 NBA Draft

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- After opting to forego college basketball and immediately beginning his professional career by joining the NBA/G League pathway program, Valley native Jalen Green has been selected in the top three of the 2021 NBA Draft.

On Thursday, Green was selected #2 overall by the Houston Rockets.

Green is joining a Rockets team that finished with the NBA's worst record last season at 17-55. The Rockets had previously made the playoffs in the eight consecutive seasons prior to last season.

"It's rare that rookies have an opportunity to go out there and just play," says Senior NBA Insider for Yahoo Sports and Fresno native Chris Haynes. "Jalen's going to be able to make mistakes on the fly and then learn from it."

The Rockets lost 20 games in a row shortly after trading all-star James Harden, who had been the franchise centerpiece for eight seasons. The roster has now shifted to a younger core, including Kevin Porter Jr., Christian Wood and Jae'Sean Tate.

"Jalen has the chance to be the face of a franchise," Haynes added.

The Valley native had a decorated career in his three years at San Joaquin Memorial High School. Jalen helped lead the Panthers to back-to-back D-2 Valley titles averaging 30.1 points, 7.8 rebounds per game during his junior year.

Green became the first player to opt-out of college basketball and join the G League program, which is a one-year developmental program with oversight from the league.

In his lone season with the G League Ignite, Green averaged 17.9 PPG, 4.1 RPG and 2.8 APG while shooting 46% from the field and 36% from the three-point line.

Earlier this month, Green returned to the Central Valley for a special renovation of his childhood court and a chance to connect with the community.

"It's surreal in a way," Green said at Koligian Park. "I didn't expect to be here. I came from nothing. I wasn't even a basketball player in the beginning. It's a blessing, that's all I can say."

Green had always envisioned putting out a court before the NBA draft. Once he signed with Adidas in May, the idea became a reality. In a partnership between Adidas, Green, Project Backboard, and the City of Fresno, the renovated court came to life.

RELATED: Potential No.1 NBA draft pick Jalen Green revamps childhood court in Fresno for youth

The 2021-22 NBA season will begin on Oct. 19. NBA Summer League in Las Vegas will be from Aug. 8-17, which is typically for younger players.
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